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Tillitson (George E.) collection on railroads
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Provenance
  • Special Notes
  • Application
  • Preferred Citation:
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: George E. Tillitson collection on railroads
    creator: Tillitson, George E.
    Identifier/Call Number: M0165
    Physical Description: 50.5 Linear Feet (9 cartons and 99 manuscript storage boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1880-1959
    Abstract: Notes on the history of railroads in the United States and Canada.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research. Note that material is stored off-site and must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.


    Gift of George E. Tillitson, 1955.

    Special Notes

    One very useful feature of the material is further described in the two attached pages. This is the carefully annotated study of a good many of the important large railroads of the United States complete within their own files, these to be found within the official state of incorporation. Here will be included page references to the frequently huge number of small short-line roads that usually wound up by being “taken in” to the larger and expending Class II and I roads. Some of these files, such as the New York Central or the Pennsylvania Railroad are very big themselves.
    Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington are large because the many lumber railroads have been extensively studied out. Within the State file for Washington, the lumber railroads make a separate alphabetical order.
    signed: W.B.B., Palo Alto, May 15, 1955


    Anyone wishing to become thoroughly familiar with the transportation background of an area - a state or a regional section of the United States or Canada - can do so through the medium of this manuscript.
    Such a study can be concentrated on a given portion of time - early, or “Railroads of Oregon in 1900”, etc. - or as to type of carrier, or mode of power, steam, electric - and the companies operating, trackage involved and other pertinent data readily assembled.
    Equipment - particularly motive power - is usually tabulated. Very Little operating data is given as to amount and number of trains daily; nor are there very often maps except for the larger company files. Timetables were not in this portion of the material.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] George E. Tillitson collection on railroads (M0165), Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Scope and Contents

    Collection contains outlined corporate histories of railroads primarily in the United States and Canada. The collection covers almost every railroad that ever operated in the United States and Canada and includes some records of roads that were projected though never built, and some information on street car lines and electric interurban lines. The vast majority of the materials are notebook paper information about railroad lines, however there is a small amount of original material such as investigation reports, tariff tables, time tables, maps, postcards, photographs, newspaper clippings, and company magazines.
    The railroad outlines are in long hand on loose leaf 8 1/2 x 11 inches notebook paper. They include dates of incorporation, brief sketches of the history of the line, lists of points served, lists of mileage, and occasionally time schedules, maps of lines, and lists or reports of accidents on the lines. Unfortunately, the collection is incomplete, and the information provided is much more extensive for the larger lines.
    Information is arranged alphabetically by state and, within the state, alphabetically by name of company. An index of all companies listed in the files has been provided by the collector. Some of the companies listed have very little information. The letters listed after the state, country or province represent the alphabetical range of the companies contained within that folder.
    The Tillitson Manuscript is essentially a Railroad List which is unique in the degree of detail.
    The area covered is the Continental United States and Canada, with some material on Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and a little on Mexico.
    The listings within a state are a single alphabetical listing of all Railroads (public carriers), Street Railways (of all types), Private Railroads (logging and construction chiefly here) and a few others.
    This includes all railroads, including ones conceived, yet never built, by chance that many were incorporated, but few built: Likewise, a vast number of early, independently built short lines became absorbed into the greater large company operations; other railroads built as separate entities were actually subsidiaries or owned companies; and a vast confusion came to exist through reorganization and changes of name due to bankruptcies and similar troubles.
    These myriad changes have produced a tremendously complex structure, to which this material provides a useful and available key for students.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-collections/permission-publish

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Railroads -- United States -- History
    Railroads -- Canada -- History
    Tillitson, George E.